Download Full Text (32.2 MB)
Dimensions: 30 inches wide, 36 inches tall
Inkjet on matte paper, printed on both sides
Artist's narrative: In Letter 10, Paul Laurence Dunbar's heartfelt words to his friend J. N. Matthews unveil a profound narrative of gratitude and faith. As a Black man navigating adversity, Dunbar expressed his deep indebtedness to white colleagues who aided in his success. The gentle color palette—featuring dark blues, purples, and soft whites—exudes an antique ambiance, transporting viewers back to Dunbar's era. This color scheme evokes the essence of the time when Dunbar mastered his craft in the cozy confines of his mother's home, where the floral wallpaper inspired the delicate designs on the poster. The floral visuals intend to convey the intricate layers of emotion within this letter, where he diligently practiced his poetry and embarked on his literary journey. The tearing effect reveals the texture reminiscent of Dunbar's first volume of poetry, Oak & Ivy, published one year after this poignant letter. Just as the torn wallpaper reveals the foundation beneath, Dunbar's enduring faith and gratitude is timelessly expressed through the typefaces Vendetta, an old face by John Downer, and Syntax LT, a humanistic lineal by Hans Eduard Meier.
Paul Laurence Dunbar, Typography, Graphic Design, University of Dayton, Dayton history, Black history
Graphic Design | Poetry
Owens, Jacob, "On Flow'ry Beds of Ease" (2023). Life in Letters: A Typographic Poster Exhibition Featuring Paul Laurence Dunbar. 4.